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D-backs receive a bit of good health news, Trevor Cahill likely to return to rotation

PHOENIX — The news couldn’t have been much worse than it was for the Arizona Diamondbacks Sunday afternoon.

Coupled with a 9-5 loss to the New York Mets at Chase Field, the team lost two key contributors to the disabled list within a matter of hours — Eric Chavez (left knee strain) and Cody Ross (dislocated right hip).

Yet forgotten in all the doom and gloom was right-hander Trevor Cahill’s third minor league rehab start Sunday night with the Reno Aces.

Cahill, who went on the DL July 1 with a right hip contusion, pitched seven innings in the Aces’ 6-4 loss to the Memphis Redbirds and allowed just two runs on five hits, while striking out four.

While his command was a bit suspect in the early going, walking three, D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said he was impressed by how the 26-year-old progressively got stronger as they game progressed.

“He actually threw the ball better as the game went on Sunday,” Gibson said. “He started out not throwing the ball as consistently but found his slot and threw the ball better. The first three innings were not as good, the last four innings were very good.

“Now we know he’s throwing, been building up and going deeper, and he’s ready.”

Although Gibson noted that the fifth-year veteran was ready to return to action with the big league club, he was less specific on when that exact date would be.

“I didn’t talk to him yet today, but we’ll see how he feels probably tomorrow,” said Gibson. “If he’s okay, we will probably move him in [to the rotation].”

With Zeke Spruill being optioned to Triple-A Monday, the logical place for Cahill to make his return would be this weekend when the D-backs take on the Pittsburgh Pirates in a three-game series at PNC Park.

The D-backs right-hander is 3-10 with a 4.66 ERA and 1.41 WHIP on the season. He hasn’t won since May 17 against the Miami Marlins.